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March 2019

Strategic vs. Tactical Investing: How do these investment approaches differ?

By | Advice, News, Published Articles

Provided by American Wealth Management

Ever heard the term “strategic investing”? How about “tactical investing”? At a glance, you might assume that both these phrases describe the same investment approach.

While both approaches involve the periodic adjustment of a portfolio and holding portfolio assets in varied investment classes, they differ in one key respect. Strategic investing is fundamentally passive; tactical investing is fundamentally active. An old saying expresses the opinion that strategic investing is about time in the market, while tactical investing is about timing the market. There is some truth to that.1

Strategic investing focuses on an investor’s long-range goals. This philosophy is sometimes characterized as “set it and forget it,” but that is inaccurate. The idea is to maintain the way the invested assets are held over time, so that through the years, they are assigned to investment classes in approximately the percentages established when the portfolio is created.1

Picture a hypothetical investor. Assume that she starts investing and saving for retirement with 60% of her invested assets held in equities and 40% in fixed-income vehicles. Now, assume that soon after she starts investing, a long bull market begins. The value of the equity investments within her portfolio increases. Years pass, and she checks up on the portfolio and learns that much more than 60% of the value of her portfolio is now held in equities. A greater percentage of her portfolio is now subject to the ups and downs of Wall Street.

As she is investing strategically, this is undesirable. Rebalancing is in order. By the tenets of strategic investing, the assets in the portfolio need to be shifted, so that they are held in that 60/40 mix again. If the assets are not rebalanced, her portfolio could expose her to more risk than she wants – and the older she gets, the less risk she may want to assume.1

Tactical investing responds to market conditions. It looks at the present and the near future. A tactical investor attempts to shift the composition of a portfolio to reduce risk exposure or to take advantage of hot sectors or new opportunities. This requires something of an educated guess – two guesses, actually. The challenge is to appropriately decide when to adjust the portfolio in light of change and when to readjust it back to the target investment mix. This is, necessarily, a hands-on style of investing.1

Is it better to buy and hold, or simply, to respond? This question has no easy answer, but it points out the divergence between strategic and tactical investing. A strategic investor may be inclined to “buy and hold” and ride out episodes of Wall Street turbulence. The danger is in holding too long – that is, not recognizing the onset of a prolonged downturn that could bring losses without much hope for a quick recovery. On the other hand, the tactical investor risks buying high and selling low, for figuring out just when to increase or decrease a portfolio position can be difficult.

Investors have debated which strategy is better for decades. One approach may be better suited than another at a particular point in time. Adherents of strategic investing point to the failure of active asset management to beat the equity benchmarks. A 2018 Dow Jones Indices SPIVA Report noted that across the five years ending June 30, 2018, more than 76% of U.S. large-cap funds failed to return better than the S&P 500. A proponent of tactical investing might counter that by arguing that this percentage might be much lower within a shorter timeframe. Ultimately, an investor has to consider their risk tolerance, objectives, and investing outlook in evaluating both approaches.2

American Wealth Management may be reached at 775.332.7000 or info@financialhealth.com.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management (“AWM”), a SEC-registered investment adviser. Certain personnel of AWM may also be registered representatives of M.S. Howells & Co. (“MSH”), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer, and therefore, may offer securities through MSH. AWM and MSH are not affiliated entities.

Citations.

1 – money.usnews.com/investing/investing-101/articles/2018-07-25/whats-the-difference-between-strategic-and-tactical-asset-allocation [7/25/18]
2 – us.spindices.com/spiva/#/reports [2/5/19]

Staying Out of Debt Once You Get Out of Debt

By | Advice, News, Published Articles

Provided by American Wealth Management

Paying off a major debt produces a sense of relief. You can celebrate a financial milestone; you can “pay yourself first” to greater degree and direct more money toward your dreams and your financial future rather than your creditors.

Once you get out of excessive consumer debt, the last thing you want to do is fall right back in. What steps can you take to reduce that possibility, and what missteps should you avoid making?

Step 1: Save money

So often, an unexpected event can put you in debt: an auto breakdown, a job loss, a trip to the emergency room or a hospital stay. If you earmark $50 or $100 a month (or even $20 a month) for an emergency fund, you can create a pool of money that may help you deal with the financial impact of such crises. Every dollar you save for these events is a dollar you do not have to borrow through a credit card or a personal loan at burdensome interest rates.

Step 2: Budget

Think about a 50/30/20 household budget: you assign half of your income for essentials like housing payments and food, 30% to discretionary purchases like shopping, eating out, and entertainment, and 20% to savings and/or paying down whatever minor debts you must incur from month to month.

Step 3: Buy things with an eye on value

Do you really need a new car that will require financing, one that will rapidly depreciate as soon as you drive it off the lot? A late-model used car might be a much better purchase. Similarly, could you save money by eating in more often or bringing a lunch to work? You could find some very nice goods at very cheap prices by shopping at thrift stores or online used marketplaces. These are all smart consumer steps, net positives for your financial picture.

You should also be aware of some potential missteps that could lead you right back into significant debt, or negatively impact your credit rating. Some of them may be taken consciously, others unconsciously.

Misstep 1: Spending freely once you are free of debt

If you get rid of consumer debt, but retain the spending mentality that drove you into it, your financial progress may be short-lived. If the experience of getting into (and getting out of) debt does not change that mindset, then you risk racking up serious debt again.

Misstep 2: Living without adequate health, auto, or disability insurance

Sometimes people are forced to assume large debts as a direct consequence of being uninsured. Hopefully, you have not been one of them. If you must pay for your own insurance and the premiums seem high, remember that they will likely be lower than the bills you could be forced to pay out of pocket without such coverage.

Misstep 3: Getting rid of the credit cards you used to go into debt

You may think this is a great way to quickly improve your credit rating. It may not be. Closing out credit cards reduces the amount of credit you can potentially draw on per month, which hurts your credit utilization ratio. Having more accounts open (rather than less) improves that ratio.1

The key is how you use the accounts in the future. When you use about 10% of your available credit each month, that is a positive for your credit score. When you use more than 30%, you potentially harm your score. For the record, the length of your credit history accounts for about 15% of your FICO score, so if a card has more good payment history than bad, getting rid of it could be a slight negative.

Instead of closing these accounts, keep them open, and use the cards once a month or less. Should a card charge you an annual fee, see if you can downgrade to a card from the same issuer that does not.

If you can keep debt reined in, you will have an opportunity to make financial strides. Not everyone has such a chance due to the weight of their liabilities. Earlier this year, total U.S. credit card debt alone surpassed $815 billion.2

American Wealth Management may be reached at 775.332.7000 or info@financialhealth.com.

This material was prepared by MarketingPro, Inc., and does not necessarily represent the views of the presenting party, nor their affiliates. This information has been derived from sources believed to be accurate. Please note – investing involves risk, and past performance is no guarantee of future results. The publisher is not engaged in rendering legal, accounting or other professional services. If assistance is needed, the reader is advised to engage the services of a competent professional. This information should not be construed as investment, tax or legal advice and may not be relied on for avoiding any Federal tax penalty. This is neither a solicitation nor recommendation to purchase or sell any investment or insurance product or service, and should not be relied upon as such. All indices are unmanaged and are not illustrative of any particular investment.

Investment advice offered through American Wealth Management (“AWM”), a SEC-registered investment adviser. Certain personnel of AWM may also be registered representatives of M.S. Howells & Co. (“MSH”), Member FINRA/SIPC, a registered broker-dealer, and therefore, may offer securities through MSH. AWM and MSH are not affiliated entities.

Citations.

1 – cnbc.com/2018/01/19/why-you-should-keep-old-credit-card-accounts-open.html [1/19/18]

2 – usatoday.com/story/money/personalfinance/2018/08/15/simple-things-anyone-can-do-stay-out-debt/989168002/ [8/15/18]